Travel agents predict strong Q2

Over three quarters (75.4%) of UK business travel agents predict they will see an increase in bookings during the second quarter of 2006, compared to 70.1% of UK leisure agents.  This is according to the latest Amadeus snap poll in which more than 175 UK leisure and business travel agents and industry professionals were surveyed about how they felt the travel industry would perform during Q2 2006.

From the 75.4% of UK business agents who felt business was looking positive for this period:

35.4% said they expected sales to increase by 5%

52.1% said they predicted sales to increase by 10%

10.4% said they felt sales would increase by 20%

Of the 70.1% of UK leisure agents who felt bookings were looking strong for Q2:

29% forecasted sales to rise by 5%

43.5% said they thought sales would increase by 10%

23.2% expected sales to rise by as much as 20%

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Conversely, 4.9% of business travel agents and 9.2% of leisure agents surveyed expected to see a downturn in sales during the second quarter of 2006. The decrease averaged 10%. The remaining 19.7% of business agents and 20.7% of leisure expected no change in the volume of sales during Q2.

Elaine Seeto, Director of Marketing for Amadeus UK and Ireland said: “Despite issues such as increased utility prices for the home plus the burden of airline fuel surcharges affecting the wallets of UK travellers, the majority of agents surveyed are confident bookings will increase from April to June this year. For leisure travel agents these increases could be attributable to better weather that is conducive to travelling and to high-profile sporting events - such as advance bookings for the FIFA World Cup. “

When asked what types of holidays customers were booking earlier and later this year compared to last, the leisure agents surveyed responded:

Summer holidays came out on top with over two thirds (62%) of agents estimating that their customers are booking ahead this year compared to last.
Easter breaks were also being snapped up earlier this year, with half (50%) of agents estimating that their customers are booking ahead this year compared to 2005.
However, over two thirds (67%) of agents estimated that their customers are booking City breaks at the last minute this year compared to last.
And similarly 65% of agents estimated that holidaymakers hitting the slopes for a holiday booked later this year than the last.

Seeto continued: “The survey indicates that whilst summer and Easter holidays continue to be booked in advance, more and more customers prefer to book City breaks at the last minute.  Agents have seen a growing trend of customers travelling as far as New York for a long weekend become the norm.  And with such great deals and expert tips from travel agents, it seems many holidaymakers would prefer to opt for a last minute break in the Big Apple, rather than the Big Smoke!” 
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